Will The Grand Cherokee Gas Mileage Improvement Be The Only Changes For ’16?

What will Change?

Only minor exterior appearance upgrades are expected but more powerful engine choices with better fuel efficiency are also in the works in time for the 2016 model. Consumers will have to wait until 2017 or possibly even 2018 for a complete Fiat influenced redesign of the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Why Wait for the 2016 model?

Because you like increased power with better fuel economy ratings. In the near future, an upgraded powertrain should arrive with gains of up to 10 -percent in power expected across the board. A refreshed grille with redesigned lower air dam are anticipated along with some possible LED effects for the taillights. The exterior lines and interior styling should remain relatively unchanged until the release of the 2017 model, at least.

Why Buy a 2015?

Because your focus is on getting the most for your dollar. Without a major redesign scheduled for 2016, purchasing the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee can give you a cutting edge sports utility vehicle with the latest technological connectivity and comfort features at a price that could be thousands less than the 2016.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Styling

Changes for this mid-size sport utility vehicle are expected to be minimal including minor enhancements to the front fascia/grille area with a redesigned air dam to accommodate Fiat’s Multi-Air engine cooling technology. The headlights could be reshaped slightly with LED light accents added to the taillights but don’t look for any major improvements with a redesign likely scheduled for the ’17 or ’18 model year. Trim levels should remain unchanged. They will likely begin with the plain Laredo level, then a special Altitude package, forge ahead through the mid-level Limited and Overland, and make their way to the luxurious Summit and powerful SRT levels.

Mechanical

Major alterations are foreseeable under the hood with Fiat’s Multi-Air engine cooling technology expected to enhance horsepower ratings across the board by approximately 10-percent. If this boost is applied to the current power numbers, the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 that is listed as standard equipment for the Grand Cherokee is estimated to be capable of 330 horsepower, the optional 5.7-liter Hemi V8 that is available as optional equipment on Limited, Overland, and Summit trim levels should deliver 396 horsepower, and the turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine should now crank out 266 horsepower. The performance focused SRT trim level will likely have one engine choice; the 6.4-liter V8 Hemi could make 510 horsepower. The SUV will almost certainly be manufactured in two and four-wheel drive configurations and be available with only an eight-speed automatic transmission. The SRT trim level should continue to utilize a dedicated eight-speed transmission that is built to handle more power and torque than the basic version, as well as a specially designed all-wheel drive system designed for high-performance driving more than off-road prowess.

Fuel Economy

Gas mileage should be slightly improved with the addition of Fiat’s Multi-Air system, even if the engine lineup remains unchanged. The 3.6-liter V6 engine and four-wheel drive could possibly get fuel efficiency numbers of 18/25/20 mpg (city/highway/combined) and 18/26/21 when equipped with a two-wheel drivetrain. Anticipated fuel efficiency ratings for the optional 5.7-liter V8 Hemi engine and four-wheel drive are 15/21/17 and 15/23/18 with two-wheel drive. SRT trim level is estimated to achieve 14/20/16 from the 6.4-liter V8 Hemi and four-wheel drivetrain. The turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine and four-wheel drive is speculated to be 22/29/25 and 23/30/26 with rear-wheel drive only.

Features

The trim level configuration is expected to remain unchanged. Standard equipment for the base Laredo trim should include alloy wheels, automatic headlights, full power accessories, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, keyless ignition/entry, fog lamps, a 5-inch LCD touchscreen monitor, Bluetooth communication connectivity, a six-speaker audio system with CD player. The optional Security and Convenience group for the Laredo trim level should net remote controlled engine start, heated seats, a wheel upgrade, power adjustable driver’s seat, a power lift gate, and satellite radio with an upgraded 8.4-inch touchscreen display and voice operated controls.

If the popular Altitude trim level returns, then expect all of the equipment listed above and add gloss black exterior badging, black finish halogen headlights, specially designed gloss-black 20-inch wheels, six unique paint colors including Bright White, Brilliant Black, Billet Silver, Maximum Steel, Deep Cherry Red, Crystal Pearl, and Granite Crystal with black Capri leather trimmed seating and Black Axis II perforated suede inserts with special stitching.

Limited trim may include all of the Laredo trim level trappings and add a premium nine-speaker audio system, a wheel upgrade, power adjustable front seats with memory settings, and heated rear seating.

The Overland trim level could add 20-inch wheels, a navigation system, and a sunroof.

The top-tier Summit trim level is expected to include polished 20-inch rims and a 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system in addition to al of the features mentioned above.

The high-performance SRT trim may list specially designed 20-inch forged wheels, LED running lamps, an adaptive suspension system, sport tuned power steering system, a heavy-duty Brembo brakes with cross drilled and ventilated rotors and multi-piston calipers, limited-slip differentials, carbon-fiber cabin accents, and specially designed leather sport seats with suede inserts.

An optional Blu-ray DVD based entertainment system could also be available for the Limited, Overland, Summit, and SRT trim levels.

Prices

Pricing for the bottom-rung Laredo trim is expected to start near $37,700. The Altitude trim level should begin around $38,815, with the Limited level creeping to a starting point of $39,500 and increasing according to the option packages chosen. The Overland should begin at $46,200 with the lavishly equipped Summit trim level opening near $51,200. The performance focused SRT trim level is likely to start near $67,300 and proceed upward as optional equipment is chosen. Note that a destination charge of $995 is included in each of these estimated prices.

Competitors

Toyota Highlander, Volkswagen Touareg, Chevrolet Traverse, Nissan Murano, Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe, Dodge Durango, Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder

QUICK HITS:

The 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee should continue to provide consumers with a great choice in a mid-size SUV with room for five adults that is as capable of delivering a reasonably comfortable ride on the highway while still being a leader in off-road driving.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]